Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within

( 3 )


"Dennis Palumbo has great insight into a writer s psyche.... Every writer should have a shrink or this book. The book is cheaper."
Gary Shandling, actor, comic, and writer

"wise, compassionate, and funny..."
Aram Saroyan, poet and novelist

"Dennis Palumbo provides a sense of community in the isolation of writing, of knowing that we are not alone on this uncharted and privileged journey. He shows us that our shared struggles, fears, and ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (34) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $7.83   
  • Used (23) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


"Dennis Palumbo has great insight into a writer s psyche.... Every writer should have a shrink or this book. The book is cheaper."
Gary Shandling, actor, comic, and writer

"wise, compassionate, and funny..."
Aram Saroyan, poet and novelist

"Dennis Palumbo provides a sense of community in the isolation of writing, of knowing that we are not alone on this uncharted and privileged journey. He shows us that our shared struggles, fears, and triumphs are the very soul of the art and craft of writing."
Bruce Joel Rubin, screenwriter, GhostandDeepImpact

Writer's block. Procrastination. Loneliness. Doubt. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Just plain...fear. What does it mean if you struggle with these feelings on a daily basis'It means you re a writer. Written with a unique empathy and deep insight by someone who is both a fellow writer and a noted psychotherapist, Writing from the Inside Out sheds light on the inner life of the writer and shows you positive new ways of thinking about your art and yourself. Palumbo touches on subjects ranging from writer s envy to rejection, from the loneliness of solitude to the joy of craft. Most of all, he leads you to the most empowering revelation of all that you are enough. Everything you need to navigate the often tumultuous terrain of the writer s path and create your best work is right there inside you.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471382669
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/16/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 998,530
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

DENNIS PALUMBO, MA, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. He cowrote the screenplay for the award-winning My Favorite Year and other films, numerous TV episodes and pilots, and the novel City Wars. Palumbo writes the highly popular "The Writer's Life" column in Written By, the magazine of the Writer's Guild of America, and his work helping writers has been profiled in Premiere magazine, the LA Times, and on CNN.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Be warned:

This is not a how-to book. It offers nary a rule, formula, nor recipe that will allow you to turn out a best-selling novel or a fabulous, million-dollar screenplay. Just as well. In the end, most million-dollar screenplays turn out to be three-million- dollar screenplays, once the inevitable rewriting frenzy begins and other hands are called in to rescue the formerly fabulous million-dollar screenplay.

It is not that handy-dandy kind of book and that is just as well. Never before have so many of the smugly expert advised so many of the seemingly inexpert on how to write successfully and on how to become rich and anonymous (screen and television writers can reap sizeable financial rewards, but they rarely get anything like famous). The pages that lie ahead provide far more valuable insights and practical tools for the working and/ or would-be writer. Instead of a how-to, what Dennis Palumbo has written is a how-come book.

A veteran of the writing wars himself, Palumbo brings fresh insight into the whys and wherefores of the numerous dilemmas each writer faces, or, at times, refuses to admit. He encourages the wanna-bes and the already-ares to confront their concerns, to recognize what lies at the heart of them, to ultimately turn their demons into constructive, liberating collaborators.

The dreaded writer's block? Dennis Palumbo's take on the subject is as novel as it has proved successful for a good number of those who have had the good sense to seek his counseling. What he offers is not a one-size-fits-all cure, but rather an understanding of the sort of writer's speed bump that can sometimesseem the size of a mountain. By leading the sufferer to the underlying truth of his or her particular form of this creative cramp, Palumbo lays the groundwork for a way not around the problem, but one that goes right straight through it.

Procrastination? Doubt? Fear of failure? Loneliness? You name it; Palumbo's been there, done those—in his own writing career and in his artful advice to others. (Even in the act of writing this brief curtain-raiser, I have (1) procrastinated finishing it until the very last second of my deadline, (2) doubted that I was the best choice for this assignment, (3) been dreading how awful it would be to fail, not writing terribly well about this terribly well-written book, and (4) thought how lonely it was today—as it is every working day—to sit down in my solitary room without one person there to say "good morning" to me.)

For years, I was convinced that I could not write alone, that I needed a partner or to work as a member of a staff, surrounded by multiple partners. I had no faith in my ability to produce material on my own. What this wise, accessible volume makes crystal clear is that no one writes alone, that our superficial appearance merely represents the outer limits of the complex, teeming population that resides in each of us: the brave, the fearful, the confident, the unsure—the braggart worrier who sits not beside but within anyone with the temerity to pan for the gold that lies hidden in the blank page or the monitor.

Early on, Palumbo promotes the concept of the Buddy System, the idea that every writer needs someone who has gone through what you're going through; someone who is happy to serve as an ear, a shoulder, a kindred spirit. Someone who gets it: the work you're doing, the town or medium in which or for whom you're doing it, someone who has been to the same meetings, been given the same notes by executives, stars, directors, editors, whoever (probably word for word the very same notes you were given by someone else about a totally different piece of work). Most importantly, you need to get someone who gets you. Dennis Palumbo's Writing from the Inside Out, with Dennis serving as a thoroughly knowledgeable, compassionate companion, makes him not only a useful friend but one who is user-friendly as well. He is the buddy every writer dreams about— that is, if writer's block isn't keeping you up all night.

Larry Gelbart

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1


Writer’s Block 15

Your “Baby” 19

Inspiration 23

The Buddy System 26

It’s Alive! 29

Your “Precious Darlings” 32

Writing Begets Writing 35


Simple, but Not Easy 45

What Really Happened. . . . 49

“For I Have Done Good Work” 53

On the Couch 57

“You’re No John Updike!” 61


Envy 69

Faith and Doubt 72

Fear 75

The Judge 79

Double-Barreled Blues 82

Myths, Fairy Tales, and Woody Allen 86

The Long View 91


The Pitch 101

Rejection 105

That Sinking Feeling 108

Reinventing Yourself 112

Deadline Dread 115

Three Hard Truths 119


Gumption Traps 127

Procrastination 130

Patience 134

Perspective 138

In Praise of Goofing Off 141

Writing about Dogs 145

Going the Distance 148


Agents 159

Home of the Heart 163

The Unknown 167

Lately, I Don’t Like the Things I Love 171

Ageism 175


Commitment 185

News Flash: Writing Is Hard! 189

Burnout: A Modest Proposal 193

A Writer’s Library 197

A Stillness That Characterizes Prayer 201


Phone Call from Paradise 211

The Idea Man 216

I’ve Come a Long Way on Paper 220

Loneliness 223

Larry: A True Story 226

Conclusion 239

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2004

    One of the very best books on writing.

    I found this book incredibly helpful. If you are having trouble starting, continuing or finishing a project, it will get you there. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2002

    A great book on what being a writer is all about.

    Forget the 'How To' books that fill the shelves of bookstores. While there may be some glimmer of knowledge in those multitude of books like 'How to write your own best-seller', THIS is the book that will get you there. I am an academic, but this book spoke to me as well regarding how to get through many of the pscyhological problems that ALL writers, fiction and non-fiction face. I will be recommending this book to all of my students and anyone else who writes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2001

    Highly Recommended

    This book was extremely helpful to me in my writing. I am a screenwriter, and I just had my first script optioned. This book helped me finish my script, which I was having great difficulty accomplishing. Buy it, or borrow it from a friend. It really helps with all the things that can ball you up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)